In order to be confident of reaching Southampton by 3pm I figured I should set off by 8am and so it was that my alarm woke me at 7.30. I fussed around quietly to try and avoid disturbing Nigel’s beauty sleep but a few minutes later he came down stairs in his dressing gown.
Back on the road, I headed along the seafront. Another cyclist pulled up alongside me: “Morning Richard”. I did a double-take and the events of the previous evening slowly returned to me … Brendan had kindly offered to accompany me part of the way to Southampton, and had duly got up bright and early this morning, only to have me very nearly bugger off without him!!
Brendan is working on a contract in Worthing and goes back to Ireland to visit his family most weekends, so he was looking forward to exploring the countryside around Worthing. Unfortunately, my sat nav today decided to take us on a tour of the side-streets of the suburbs of every town we passed. We passed through Chichester, then Havant at which point after about 30 miles Brendan turned back, as he would have a fair way to ride back to Worthing. (I forgot to take your email address or number mate, so if you’re reading this, please let me know how you got on with the return journey – just leave a comment)
Somwhere between Havant and Southampton, my sat nav’s penchant for suburban backstreets had switched to industrial estates instead, although there were some more pleasant interludes, such as the view towards Portsmouth Harbour. I could almost have been in Dubai!
Finally I arrived at the Butchers Hook, on the outskirts of Southampton. After a pint and a half there (well I had ridden over 50 miles to get there), I set off for Southampton train station.
But today I would not get the train straight home: I had one extra-curricular micropub to visit, The Wight Bear in Bournemouth:
The Wight Bear had only opened a few weeks previously and so did not make it onto my list of 100. But I had followed their fit out and opening story over the preceding months, plus which they had offered to donate £1 to Alzheimers for every pint sold between 5pm and 7pm, so who was I to say no.
I’m very glad I did visit – Dave, Nicola and their family are the perfect hosts, plus which Nigel and his friend Karen (from Anchored in Worthing) made it down there too.
Finally, back on the train to London.
I’ll do a proper write-up of all these micropubs soon.